There are a few things in life that are precious and one of these moments is the incomparable sensation when the caffeine hits you in the morning. For many of us, caffeine is a necessity. How else would we be able to get through the day without our morning dose of caffeine?
Coffee contains a naturally occurring stimulant called caffeine. This compound mimics a neurotransmitter called adenosine. The function of adenosine is a central nervous system depressant and normally it promotes sleep and inhibits arousal. Caffeine latches onto the brain receptors for adenosine and pushes this sleep-inducing chemical out of the way, causing the individual to feel an increase in mental alertness, improved endurance, and heightened cognitive function.
Coffee = Caffeine?
A common misconception about caffeine is that coffee is the only source. You’d be surprised to find out that most unassuming food products also contain caffeine. Some examples are tea, chocolate, energy drinks, even yogurt, and cereals!
Coffee’s stimulant effects make it the most commonly consumed psychoactive substance in the world. In a survey conducted in Australia, people who work long hours drink an average of 10.1 cups weekly, while non-workers drink an average of 8.6 cups. Australians hold the 28th rank in the world for caffeine consumption. Under normal circumstances, consuming caffeinated drinks and foods is a harmless habit and poses no significant health risk, however, once the craving for caffeine is heightened and accompanied by abnormal manifestations, this can be an indication of caffeine addiction.
People who regularly consume caffeine, well beyond the recommended 300 to 400 mg of daily intake, can build a tolerance to this substance. This essentially means that their body has gotten used to the caffeine that upping their intake is necessary to attain the desired effects. Over time, this will develop into an addiction and will be difficult to stop.
Because of the neurochemical changes that happen when you consume caffeinated products, you can easily develop dependence. Just as one develops a tolerance to alcohol and drugs, if you consume caffeine constantly, it will require higher and higher doses of this compound to produce the same level of alertness. Additionally, people who consume caffeine regularly will manifest withdrawal symptoms once they abruptly cease the habit.
Caffeine Addiction Symptoms
The most commonly reported symptom is a headache. The pounding headache is due to the vasoconstrictive effects of caffeine. When a person drinks coffee, the blood vessels in the brain constrict and this causes a decrease in the blood flow. When the person does not get their caffeine fix, the blood vessels dilate and the sudden rush of blood into the brain causes the sometimes debilitating headache.
Quitting caffeine consumption can be a difficult undertaking because, without caffeine in the individual’s system, they experience fatigue which also may affect their cognitive functions. This is why people who attempt to quit caffeine often relapse as they have become dependent on it. Without caffeine in their system, they are unable to perform well.
Caffeine Addiction - You Can Quit!
If you are a chronic coffee drinker or know someone who is addicted to caffeine, do not let it take over your life. At The Arden Centre, we will guide you on how you can learn more about using the mind's capacity to better manage caffeine cravings. This may just be the kind of support you need to get over your caffeine addiction for good.
The Arden Centre’s capable professionals are committed to delivering an atmosphere of genuine, authentic and sincere care that gives our clients a unique chance to recover. We believe that honesty, positive relationships and compassion are the key to beginning a recovery journey. Your privacy and confidentiality is of utmost importance to us. Contact us so your recovery can begin.
I am an energetic and committed Senior Health Care Manager with a passion for developing staff through education and mentoring.